Budget Travel Guide to Coron, Palawan + 5 Days Itinerary (Updated 2020)

Budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan
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Here’s our complete budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan! This online guide will help you enjoy this paradise with our tried-and-tested budget tips and more. ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all, let me tell you about Coron. It’s the second most-popular tourist attraction in Palawan, next to El Nido. It’s mostly known for the iconic view of Coron Bay. It also has various lakes, lagoons and beaches. Compared to El Nido, it’s relatively less crowded.

I actually traveled solo to Coron on a 5-day leisure trip. I immediately loved in starting in day one. Coron is complete mesmerizing — and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in the Philippines. In fact, for foreign travelers who plan to visit the country, it would be my topmost recommendation.

Solo travel to Coron, Palawan

Aside from its beautiful nature attractions, another thing that I like about Coron is that it’s budget-friendly, even for solo travelers like me. Even though tour rates aren’t standardized yet, the rates for accommodation and tours are reasonable. I’m going to share several budget tips to Coron here with you!

Things to know before you go

  • Coron is safeguarded by the indigenous tribe of Tagbanua. As such, some places are considered sacred and off limits.
  • Be respectful. Wear a coverup when walking on streets.
  • There are ATMs in Coron.
  • Most establishments accept cash only, but some resorts and establishments also accept major credit cards.

How to get to Coron

Manila to Coron

The easiest way to get to Coron is by booking a flight to Busuanga Airport.

By air

  • Take a local flight to Busuanga Airport. Cebu Pacific offers the cheapest year-round fares.
  • From Busuanga airport, there will be vans waiting that can take you to Coron (P150, 30-40 minutes). If you’re in a group, you can also hire the entire van (P1500). From the drop-off point, take a tricycle to get to your accommodation.

By sea

  • 2Go has weekly trips from Manila to Coron. The port is located in Pier 4 in Tondo, Manila. Travel time is 11 hours; fare is about P1400+ per person depending on how early you book and your ticket class. Book ferry tickets from Manila to Coron here.
  • From the Coron pier, walk for 15 minutes to the town proper or ride a tricycle.

El Nido to Coron

There are ferries from El Nido to Coron. For regular ferry, travel time is 4 hours; fare is P1760. Book ferry tickets from El Nido to Coron here.

When to visit

Drone shot in Coron, Palawan

As in most destinations in the Philippines, the best time to go here is during summer where there is guaranteed good weather.

However, going during off-peak season has its perks too. You can avoid the huge summer crowd and even get discounted rates on rooms and tours. I love traveling during off-peak season for these reasons, moreso in Palawan which is rarely affected by the typhoon season. There might be cloudy skies or a bit of rain, but it doesn’t experience heavy rain as other places such as Manila.

How to get around

Coron town proper is small so almost everything is walking distance. Alternatively, you may also ride tricycles for a minimum fee.

On the day of your flight departure, you can ask assistance from your hotel’s receptionist to schedule a van pickup to the airport since the vans follow a daily schedule.

Island hopping tours

Island hopping is the main activity offered in Coron. Each island hopping tour is different, but mainly you will get to see beaches, lakes particularly Kayangan Lake which is considered the cleanest lake in Asia, and snorkel in underwater coral areas and shipwrecks. During island hopping, you will also get to see the iconic photo in Coron: an islet surrounded by clear turquoise water that is the Coron Bay.

Each tour may differ depending on the agency, but joiner tours are generally the same in terms of places to visit. As said above, there are no standardized tours in Coron so rates may vary per agency.

1. Coron Island Tour A

Tour A is a great start for your island hopping experience. It takes you to several beaches and snorkeling areas, as well as the famous Kayangan Lake. If you like snorkeling, I suggest you explore the surrounding waters in CYC Beach. Most people stay on the shore, but it actually has one of the best underwater spots I’ve seen during my stay there.

  • Places to see: Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach, Atwayan/Sunset beach, Quin Reef, Green Lagoon, Kayangan Lake
  • Rate: P900 per person
View deck in Kayangan Lake, Coron
View deck in Kayangan Lake featuring Coron Bay.
Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan
Kayangan Lake.

2. Coron Island Tour B

This takes you to more snorkeling spots in Coron. But the true highlight of this tour is the Twin Lagoon, which features dazzling-blue lagoons against a backdrop of karst formations.

  • Places to see: Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Reef Garden, Twin Lagoon
  • Rate: P1200 per person
Twin Lagoon in Coron
Twin Lagoon.
Twin Lagoon in Coron, Palawan
Docking area in Twin Lagoon.

3. Island Escapade Tour C1

This is a new tour which includes Malcapuya Island and other islands in Coron.

  • Places to see: Coco Beach, Waling-Waling Island, Malcapuya Island
  • Rate: P1200 per person

4. Island Escapade Tour C2

This tour takes you to three beautiful islands in Coron. The islands are located a bit far compared to other island hopping stops (about 2 hours), so majority of your time will be spent on the boat ride. Again, if you like snorkeling, you will enjoy Banana Island with its giant clams and Malcapuya Island wits its big schools of fishes.

  • Places to see: Bulog Dos Island, Banana Island, Malcapuya Island
  • Rate: P1200 per person
Malcapuya Island in Coron, Palawan
Malcapuya Island.

5. Reefs and Wrecks

This is the best tour for those who enjoy snorkeling and freediving, as you will be taken to a vast coral garden (lazily named Coral Garden) where it’s possible to get sightings of sea turtles and the shipwreck sites. The shipwrecks can be seen even from the surface. This is a fun tour; my only complaint during my tour is that each stop is too short so there’s not much time to linger and enjoy the underwater scenes.

  • Places to see: East Tangat, Pass Island, Coral Garden, Lusong Gunboat
  • Rate: P1300 per person
Shipwreck in Pass Island, Coron
One of the many shipwrecks in Coron. This one is taken at Pass Island.

6. Coron Island Ultimate Tour

If you want to see the best island hopping spots in Coron in one tour, you can avail of the Coron Island Ultimate Tour. If you’ve already taken the rest of the tours, there’s no need to get this one.

  • Places to see: Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach
  • Rate: P1500

Reminders:

  • Island hopping starts at at 9AM up to 4 or 5PM. If you’re availing of a joiner tour, make sure to get to the port early and keep track of time at all times so other joiners wouldn’t have to wait for you.
  • The tour includes lunch buffet and water.
  • Rental for snorkeling set and/or aqua shoes are not included (P150 each).

Other tours in Coron

If you want a little break from the sea, there are other tours in Coron you can avail.

Calauit Safari Tour

As its name suggests, the highlight of this tour is the Calauit Safari. The safari is home to various endemic and imported wildlife, such as giraffes. It’s about 3 hours away from the town proper, and as such pickup is usually at around 4AM.

Other places to see may vary depending on the travel agency offering this tour. Others may include side trips to town attractions while others offer snorkeling sites to be visited along with Black Island.

  • Places to see: Calauit Safari Sanctuary, Isla Paraiso, Busuanga town proper, Malbato Church, (Optional) Black Island
  • Rate: P2100 per person + additional P500 for Black Island

Culion Island Tour

Culion Tour is an underrated tour in Coron. It takes you to Culion, which was once a leper colony. Today, it’s a charming town with various historical landmarks.

  • Places to see: Culion Church and Forest, Aguila Viewpoint, Culion Museum and Archives, Bogor Marine Park.

Coron town tour

If you have half a day, you can take a Coron town tour where you can buy souvenirs and take home cashew, which is one of the local products in Palawan. Other highlights include Maquinit Hot Spring, a natural hot spring within a mangrove  forest, and Mount Tapyas which is a favorite spot for island hopping.

The tour is also doable DIY as you only need to commute via tricycle to get to the destinations for minimum fare. If you’re going to Maquinit Hot Spring, a private tricycle costs P300 good for 4 people; the driver will wait for you. Entrance fee is P200 per person.

  • Places to see: Lualhati Park, cashew shop, souvenir shop, St. Augustine Church, Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring
  • Rate: P650 or P800 per person with set meal
Culion in Palawan
(Photo from Wikimedia | user: marsmux)

Fireflies and plankton tour

This is a magical tour wherein you can see fireflies and bioluminiscent planktons. The tour starts at 6PM to 9PM, with buffet dinner.

  • Rate: P950 per pax

Where to book tours

There are various travel agencies in Coron, Palawan. You can just walk around the Coron town proper and book for a tour, at least a day before.

Regardless of your choice, I highly suggest that you give a tip to your boatman/guide especially if you’re happy with their service!

Joiner tours

As for myself, I availed of tours from JY Travel and Tours. Kuya Henerson is hands down the best tour guide here.

Private tours

If you’re in a group, you might want to get a private tour (i.e., per-person rate is the same as joiner tour, but it will be exclusive to your group) or you may find your a private boat to rent.

The usual rental for a private boat is P2000 or above. There are travel agencies that offer this or you can walk along the port (near Sea Dive Restaurant) and find a local boatman willing to take you.

If you choose the latter, take note that you will have to buy your own food in the market for cooking during the tour and pay the entrance fees, which are not included in the rental rate. The advantages of this is that it’s cheaper and you can dictate which places to go and which time, which is useful if you want to escape the crowds. Moreover, you can also stop over beach coves not included in the usual island hopping tours.

Where to eat

There are a number of restaurants in Coron where you can enjoy local delicacies and other cuisines. Expect a budget of P200-500 per person. Here are the most recommended ones:

  • Kawayanan Grill. This restaurant offers reasonably priced seafood platters.
  • Santino’s Grill. A popular restaurant famous for their baby backribs
  • Sea Dive Restaurant or La Sirenetta. A great option especially for sunset viewing.

I recommend La Sirenetta which has good ambiance and food.

If you’re on a budget, there are carinderias in Coron where you can buy meals for around P100 per person.

Where to stay

The great thing about Coron is that it offers a lot of budget-friendly accommodations.

I stayed in Seahorse Guesthouse, which offers dormitory-type rooms with 2 double-decked beds, good for 4 people. I was with my Chinese roommate Xiao, whom I’ve first met on tour. Staying in the dormitory room wasn’t awkward at all, and even though it wasn’t spacious it was comfortable. There are other lodgings with the same price, but at least this one was airconditioned with hot/cold shower. There’s a thick comforter for the night and a locker for securing items.

Breakfast is free on the fourth floor, which also has a nice view of the town and the sea. I also love the playlist in the mornings, some feel-good jazz or indie songs. Plus, the Seahorse Guesthouse is at the heart of Coron town — it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to the port and market and surrounded with souvenir shops.

Most recommended resorts

Here are some of the most recommended resorts and hotels in Coron:

Club Paradise Resort in Coron, Palawan
Club Paradise Resort.

Budget options

Here are some of the recommended budget accommodations in Coron, Palawan:

  • Seahorse Guesthouse. This guesthouse offers dorm-type accommodation, with free breakfast. It has a rooftop area where you can eat and which features a nice view of the ocean. Book discounted rooms here.
  • Coron Paradise Bed & Breakfast. A good option if you want a private room in a budget, with free breakfast. It’s close to major establishments such as restaurants and souvenir shops. Book discounted rooms here.

Didn’t see what you’re looking? Check out other accommodations in Coron here.

5 Days itinerary to Coron

I recommend staying at least 5-6 days in Coron. If you wish to maximize your time, you can avail of the Coron Ultimate Island Tour and other 1-2 island hopping tours and the rest exploring Calauit Safari or Cuyo Island. If you’re into diving as well, I suggest adding 2-3 days more to your itinerary.

Anyway, here’s a sample 5 days itinerary to Coron.

Day 0
Flight from Manila to Busuanga
Check in at accommodation

Day 1
Coron Island Tour A
Sunset trek to Mount Tapyas

Day 2
Coron Island Tour B
Late-afternoon dip at Maquinit hot spring

Day 3
Island Escapade Tour C1/C2

Day 4
Reef and Wrecks Tour
Plankton and Fireflies Tour

Day 5
Buy souvenir
Flight back to Manila

As island hopping tours normally start at 9AM, if you arrive in Busuanga Airport at 7:30AM or earlier, you still have time to drop your bag at your accommodation and join a tour.

Budget tips

Here are important budget tips so you can still enjoy Coron without breaking the bank!

  • Snorkel and aqua shoes rental are not included in island hopping tours, which are rented out at about P150 each. If you’re going to stay for a few days, it’s best to buy or bring your own equipment. I got my own snorkeling set for less than P1000 and I’ve used it in other locations besides Coron.
  • If you’re in a group, you may look at all-in tour packages. However, if you’re solo or in two’s, it’s cheaper to book the island hopping tours and accommodations separately. This advice was given to me by a travel agent when I inquired about rates.
  • It’s cheaper to do the Coron Town Tour on your own, as the attractions can be visited via commute with tricycles. This is especially true if you’re in a group.
  • For cheap eats, there are carinderias selling meals at about P100. Another favorite backpacker spot is the ihawans in the port area, where you can buy grilled chicken, pork and seafood for cheap.

Budget and expenses

Of course, it’s cheaper to visit Coron if you’re in a group. Here’s a rough breakdown of expenses:

  • Accommodation with breakfast: P500-600 (solo or shared expense in a group room)
  • Tours: P900-1200
  • Snorkeling rental – P150
  • Food: Dinner – P100-200

Usually you only have to worry about dinner. Breakfast is often served complimentary in hotels and tours include lunch buffet.

For 5 days, a safe budget would be P9000-10,000 per person.

Did you find this budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan, helpful? Any other suggestions to future travelers?

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Budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan (Philippines)

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57 Comments

  1. Hello Katherine! We will be going to Coron on Oct 21-25. We are 11 in a group but 8 persons will be leaving on the 3rd days, so unluckily 3 of us will remain. Can you give me some recommendations please. Should I book with the package tour including accommodation and land transfer or is it cheaper to have it separately?

  2. Hi! Your blog inspired me to book a solo trip to Coron. Just a question though: how did you handle your phone & money while swimming? Did you leave them behind or bring them with you in the water?

  3. Hi Katherine, very helpful post. Thank you. We are planning to visit Coron in December 2019 for 4D3N. We will be 8-10 people (family)on a tight budget. How much should we save per person for all expenses including airfare and lodging? Thank you!

  4. Hi Katherine! I read that you spent 8k on this trip. Did you go there via cebpac or 2go? Coz I’ve been checking out cheap flights and so far 7k is what I’ve seen. We’re going there for our cousin’s wedding in March next year. Hope to hear from you. Thanks in advance!

  5. Thanks for the blog as I it really helps me picture out how to do my itinerary..Planning to visit Coron this September for our 5th Anniversary

  6. Thank you so much i found your blog. Anyway will plano namin pupunta ng Coron sa First week ng January we have six peoples in the group from age 11 years old to 60 years old. Any recommendations From the beginning to the end of our trip? This is our first time.

  7. Hi! Sorry if this had been asked, I tried searching past comments!

    For booking your tours, did you pre-book all of them online or did you wait until you arrived to walk to their booth and then book them?

    Thank you!

    1. I actually just texted them a day before, if I remember correctly. But this was low season. During high season it’s recommended to pre-book.

  8. Hi, will travel 2nd or 3rd week of Nov, do you suggest to look for travel packages in Coron or book prior? Thanks

  9. Hi! Im really glad i came across this blog, this is helpful, weโ€™ll be in coron on the 31st of October to the 3rd of November and weโ€™re booked at SeaHorseguest house (me,my hubby and our son) i want to know the most practical tour we can get since weโ€™re traveling with our 12y/o kid. Thanks! And can we just book it with seahorse?

  10. Hi. I happened to leave a comment in this post some few months ago, and since then i’m receiving notifs that I’m not even involved in.
    Ummm, how can I unsubcribe po? I need to know po sana. Thanks.

    1. Hi Michelle, sorry abt that! Usually there’s an unsubscribe button in email notifications. Let me know if you’re still having problems.

      1. Please don’t get me wrong, I love this blog & and it helped me a lot during my trip.. Maybe I only need to adjust notification settings. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Thank you po..

  11. Hey, Iโ€˜m also heading to Coron as single traveler and Iโ€˜d like to do some of the tour packages you have mentioned in your blog. However, I cant find a link or name of the agency that provided exactly these Tour A etc. packages. Can you name it? Many thanks!!

    1. We literally allotted a whole subsection for the travel agencies and even gave links for their pages. : )) I got the tours from JY Travel and Tours.

    2. I was in Coron just last week, travelled solo as well. Booked my tour from Alherini Travel Services in facebook, and I must say, they are Legit, accomodating and very smooth to transact with. Hope that helps.

    1. I’m not sure if it’s going to be “perfect.” ๐Ÿ™‚ June-November is the rainy season so it really depends on the weather, but the good news is Palawan doesn’t really experience strong typhoons. You might still get a lil bit of rain here and there tho.

  12. Hi! I’d like to ask for advice on how I can have a worthy vacation to Coron for 3D2N only. I want to travel solo and as much as possible not to join groups. Thank you so much!

    1. Then you should hire your own private boat. ๐Ÿ™‚ Afaik for packaged tours you’ll still be with other people, so this is probably the best choice.

    1. We don’t know the timetable for the vans, but take note that Coron is a major attraction in Palawan and so with the influx of passengers, there are always public vans outside the airport. If unsure, you can always contact your resort/accommodation; they are affiliated with those doing airport transfers.

  13. Hi Katherine weโ€™re planning to go there with my partner.
    Is there any boat to rent in the pier area? I want to DIY my travel and i dont want to book tours. Which is more cheaper DIY or TOUR Agency?

    1. Yep, you can go to the pier but I’m not sure about the availability during summer.

      DIY or tour agency — it depends. If there are only 2 of you I’d go for joining a group tour instead.

    2. Hi Duke. I recommend Jon for private boat in Coron. You can ask them how much is the rate. This is worth considering if you want to enjoy the place on your own and you can choose which tourists spots you can visit. Though you have to shoulder the entrance fees and you have to buy your own food in the market for cooking later on.

      We hired JON, ARMAN, & STANLEY our boatmen/tourguide for 2 days island hopping. They’re helpful, kind and they made our Coron trip worth remembering โค๏ธ

      For private boat:
      โ– JON(Boatman in Coron): +639955287803
      +639218139568

      For solo or couple travelers it’s more cheaper if you get a tour at local travel agency, you dont need to think about your food and entrance fees since it is included in the package.

  14. Hi, I just want to ask. Is solo travelling to Coron safe? I want to assure my mom that itโ€™s safe, or else she wonโ€™t allow me to go. And I already have tickets for April.
    Hoping to hear from you soon. Thanks.

  15. Hi! Iโ€™m visiting Coron on april 30 to may 4 2018, i will traveling alone is it not really that bad? it will be my first solo travel. Will I still be able to enjoy the tours and have an overall great time?

  16. Hi! I’m thinking of going to Coron this March, it will be 3D2N. Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Island and Maquinit Hot Spring are the places I want to visit. It would be my first time to travel alone. Just want to ask for help in planning my itinerary or how do I get there without joining tours.

    1. You can rent a private boat if you don’t want to join tours. Maquinit hot spring can be reached via tricycle. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can visit all those in ome day.

      1. Hi! Nice blog, i enjoyed reading it. We will be travelling as a couple on Feb 27 to Mar 3. We plan to rent a private boat instead of joining a group. The cheapest rate provided to me is 3700/pax for the Coron Island Tour. And 4800/pax for the Malcapuya, banana and bulog beaches. Rates included all entrance fees, food, licensed tour guide. Do you think the rate is reasonable? Or i can find better deal once i arrive at Coron?

        1. I think the price is reasonable because there are only two of you. You can also try looking for a travel agency/boat owners who’ll agree on a rate per boat (not per person) and see if it’ll be cheaper. Last time I was there boat rental is 2000-2500, entrance fees and lunch not included. Not sure if the rate is the same for the three beaches you mentioned because those are a bit far.

  17. Hi! I’m visiting Coron on July 2018, so I’ll be expecting some rain ๐Ÿ™ Given it rains, is it really that bad? Will I still be able to enjoy the tours and have an overall great time?

    1. We love to travel during the rainy season because of fewer crowds, lower rates. ๐Ÿ™‚ If it’s just a little bit of rain, you’re still good to go. But if there’s a strong typhoon, tours might get cancelled. In general though, Palawan rarely experiences strong typhoons as in other parts of the PH… so you’d be terribly unlucky to be stuck in one. Good luck!

  18. Good day, Ask ko lng po if anu masuggest mo maam. Me and my cousins will be going this coming august, we are 4 in the group, is it ideal and cheaper if we will do DIY or avail a package for the whole tour? Thank you for your response

    1. I think since there’s 4 of you it’s better to get a private boat (DIY). ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s cheaper overall and you get to do your own itinerary.

      1. Hi! Do travel tour agencies allow grouping solo travellers for private tours instead of letting them join with the group tours? This is to allow more flexibility on the itineraries instead of feeling rushed.

        1. Yes. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can rent a private boat if they offer it (with your own itinerary) or go on a private group tour (following their itinerary).

  19. Coron looks lovely. I have not been to the Philippines yet, but it is on my bucketlist!
    I see you did 4 tours? Would you recommand that? Did you meet loads of people on those tours?
    x

    1. Yes and yes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I liked the first three tours. I wasn’t impressed with tour D, but I heard it’s a popular choice because of the coral garden. I did meet lots of people because I joined group tours. Hope you decide to visit here!

  20. I love solo travel and I’m looking at Coron for next year. Is it possible to request for a budget breakdown of your 5-day stay? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much and i wish you more travels today, onward!

  21. Iโ€™m going to Coron this November. Isnโ€™t it awkward to go on tour without any friend/s?

    1. Nope. But you will probably get asked a lot why you’re alone or if you’re heartbroken… or something along those lines. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Hello,
    Iโ€™m planning for a solo trip this September. Do you have to book the tour in advance or you can just get book then and there on a cheaper price. Also, Iโ€™m going on a weekday, there might be no group tours available.
    Thank for the help.

  23. Hi! I’m going to Coron this January and I’m also booked at Seahorse Guesthouse! I just wanted to ask if they provide the guests with free towels? Also, do guests need to bring their own padlock for the locker or do they also provide them?

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